The motorcycle industry is mourning the loss of Bill Warner today, as the 44-year-old land speed record holder died while attempting to break the 300 mph barrier over the course of a single mile. Racing in the “The Maine Event” at the Loring Air Force Base, Warner’s partially streamlined and turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa veered to the right after clearing the one-mile marker, and went off the runway course roughly 2,000 feet later, before ultimately crashing.

According to reports, Warner was conscious and communicative after the crash, but he succumbed to his injuries about an hour and fifteen minutes later at a hospital near Caribou, Maine. It is not clear how fast he was going when he left the course’s runway, but he had been clocked at 285 mph while on the course.

It was only a couple years ago that we reported Warner’s 300 mph run (311.945 mph to be precise), at the same Maine Event speed meet. Warner set that record over a 1.5 mile distance, and is the only motorcyclist to break the 300 mph barrier on a “sit-on” motorcycle.

“No one will touch Bill’s achievements or be the type of racer he was,” said Tim Kelly, Race Director the Loring Timing Association, which hosts The Maine Event at Loring Air Force Base. “He was a personal friend and the land-racing community is less for his loss.”

Asphalt & Rubber extends our best thoughts to Bill’s family and friends at this tragic time. Below is the video of Bill’s 311.945 mph run at Loring AFB in 2011. It seemed like the best way to pay tribute to this special person in the motorcycling community.

Source: AP

  • TexusTim

    very sad.. rip Mr Warner

  • William

    Via Con Dios Amigo

  • Slangbuster

    So sorry to hear this. RIP Bill, you were one of a kind.

  • Christian

    Dying for what you’re living for is a present – but I hope he did not suffer in pain. For sure very sad for his family and friends, R.I.P.

  • A true revolutionary. A great loss.

  • I have to say I’m not surprised. As someone who’s done speed runs on old airstrips, I can tell you it’s not safe to run at high speeds on surfaces like that. After doing it a few times, and getting the front and back wheel out of alignment, just slightly but enough to give me a good scare, I never did it again. Airstrips, particularly military airstrips were designed for large fat compliant wide wheels, the kind found on aircraft, to free roll on, not for high-powered motorcycles to be laying down huge amounts of power through their tires.

    Just take a look at this video, and the video of the Maine airstrip where he died, full of cracks, imperfections, strips of tar and expansion joints. Those are the kind of things that will unsettle the suspension of a bike at 150 mph, at +200 mph it will cause a bike to change direction abruptly, at 300 mph… well… this is what happens.

    It would be ill advised to try to run a car that fast on such a surface, doing it on a bike is just plain irresponsible and foolhardy in my opinion. There’s a reason why professionals do high speed runs on the salt flats and dry lake beds, uniformity of surface, which is all-important when running at high speeds. If you’re going to do this kind of thing at least make it on a smooth paved road, designed for it, that’s been inspected by professionals, as well as the rider walking the entire length, so he knows precisely what he’s getting himself and his bike into. A smooth new strip of modern asphalt highway would be safer to run on at these kind of speeds than those old concrete airbase runways.

    He wrecked last year and was seriously injured, but apparently didn’t learn from that experience, and ended up losing his life, very sad.